Monday, May 30, 2011

Adventures in administration

Where I work in the hospital, we get a lot of "requests for Staff Affiliation" - other hospitals want to know whether the doctor has worked for us, how he did, and stuff like that. But I'm starting to wonder whether anybody ever actually reads the forms that they send out asking for information.

It's not even subtle stuff - it's the kind of thing that they should have picked up on just on a simple readthrough.

A request to know his "staff status" is followed by "if resigned, former staff status." And that's fine. They want to know basically how much the doctor worked in the hospital, and in what capacity: they're looking for words like Active, Associate or Courtesy, and they even understand that he might have resigned, and they're accounting for that.

But then they ask things like:
Has practitioner had their staff privileges terminated, voluntary or involuntary (sic). If yes, please explain on separate sheet.
OK, guys. If they've resigned, then their staff privileges have been terminated. Nonetheless, if I check "yes," that's a red flag and they're going to want more information, and I don't have time to keep dealing with every illiterate pinhead calling me back to explain the English language to them.

Somehow, I doubt that they were expecting to get their form back with "Duh - resigned" in the margin. But that's what they got.
Has practitioner performed enough case volume to fulfill staff requirements in the previous two years?
Well, since he resigned four years ago, probably not: an argument can be made that his current staff requirements, as a resigned physician, would be "none," but, just to be clear (and avoid that annoying phone call), I check "no" and draw an arrow up to "Duh - resigned."

They also want me to rate the doctor on various attributes: how well did they do, were there any major complications, were there any lawsuits?.

And I'm apparently supposed to read the minds of the rest of the hospital staff: was the practitioner respected by colleges, did they behave in a moral manner, did they ever operate under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

Unless there were complaints I can document, they usually get a pass on those: this isn't one of those places where I try to get away with "well, that depends on your definition of 'respected' (or 'moral'), doesn't it?"

Another problem is rating scales. We get peer references on the doctors every time they get or renew their privileges at the hospital, where they rate each other on those various attributes. Our form uses a 4-point scale, with 4 being "Godlike" and 1 being "Completely shit." And I'm supposed to take those ratings, and figure out how to put them on a 3-point scale (good/acceptable/poor), or a 5-point scale?

But that's just quibbling. How am I supposed to answer the question "Is practitioner respected by staff and colleagues? (Yes/no) If yes, explain on separate sheet." I have no idea if they appreciated me circling "yes" and writing underneath "please reread your question." I hope they didn't.

Or the following actual grid from a form.

How do they want me to answer that last question? My response was to leave it blank, and write under comments "There have been no complaints, but I don't think 'exemplary' really explains that."

But that's just me, expecting too much from people.


On a completely unrelated note: earlier today, Spellcheck failed to pick up the word "singed" (I’d meant to typed "signed" but sometimes my right hand goes faster than my left – such is life). I stared at it for a minute, and actually tried to figure out at what point the word "singed" might be the right word to use. "Sang", "sung" and the like, yes.

It actually took me about a minute of staring at it before I realized that Spellcheck thought the form I was sending in was slightly charred.

I’m not sure whether that makes Spellcheck an idiot, or me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Footloose II? Maybe not.

Over on Brilliant at Breakfast, Jill found this video. Please watch it in it's entirety (well, OK, halfway through, it just switches to alternate camera views of the same thing - I guess you've gotten the picture at that point).

Holy crap, right? This is America? No dancing allowed? Do we live in a police state? Did Reverend Shaw Moore get elected to Congress? What the hell? I thought Cheney and his jackbooted thugs had been disbanded.

That looks like a flash mob that hadn't really set up, getting shut down (and then thrown down) by Park Police. And did you catch that threat implied in the sergeant's statement, that "you might end up in jail for 48 hours"? And then the body slams, and... Oh my god!

But, you know, there's an old saying about every story having two sides. And that's a hell of an expensive camera that keeps showing up in frame: flash mobs don't tend to be using high-end professional video equipment. So I did a little research. First step: the video is branded "Adam vs the Man," and the title gives you the name "Adam Kokesh." So I looked him up.

Turns out that Kokesh is a kind of a media whore. He was a marine, and during his first tour in Iraq, brought back a war souvenir, which is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Now, Wikipedia quotes a story from the Newhouse News Service saying that because of that, he "was demoted to corporal and soon thereafter discharged honorably with a re-enlistment code that basically said, 'you can't re-enlist.'" He then joined the Individual Ready Reserve, which isn't a full-time active duty military slot, but is still in the military. Which means that he was still under the UCMJ.

So he wore his uniform to a rally protesting the Iraq War, which is also a violation of the UCMJ (he's allowed to attend political events, he just isn't allowed to be in uniform - the military doesn't want to appear to support either side of any debate). Got in trouble for that, but they went easy on him.

He started getting publicity for high-profile protests: a squad-sized "occupation patrol" of DC, to give Americans a taste of what it's like; holding up a large sign at the Alberto Gonzalez hearing, saying that Gonzalez had said "I don't know" 74 times; getting arrested for trespassing in Fort Benning; stuff like that. He rode his internet celebrity into a local libertarian radio show here in Albuquerque, which was picked up by the Russia Today television network.

(And, you know, really? Russia Today? I can understand making a living, and I, personally, don't have a problem with RT, but you can see where the image problem kicks in there, right?)

So, that's him.

Now, in 2008, a small libertarian flash mob gathered at the Jefferson Memorial to celebrate the birthday of Jefferson. In breaking them up, one woman was arrested. Her suit was tossed out, with the judge ruling in a 26 page report that:
"The purpose of the memorial is to publicize Thomas Jefferson's legacy, so that critics and supporters alike may contemplate his place in history. The Park Service prohibits all demonstrations in the interior of the memorial, in order to maintain 'an atmosphere of calm, tranquillity, and reverence.' Prohibiting demonstrations is a reasonable means of ensuring a tranquil and contemplative mood at the Jefferson Memorial."
"Plus, an organized protest is required to get a permit," the judge did not add.

And two weeks ago, the US Court of Appeals affirmed that judgement.

(Remember that thing about permits, by the way. And the phrase "organized protests.")

And the five protesters were taken to the police station, charged with demonstrating without a permit, then released a short time later.

Is this a stupid law? I think so. Did the police overreact? Well, hell yes. They didn't need to body-slam anybody - that was over the top. But I've done crowd control: they needed to move fast and shut this down before it escalated: the longer it lasts, the more people join in. And everything can get much worse, very quickly.

And were the Park Police placed in an untenable position? Looks that way to me.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My life as a fish

Well, it isn't every day that I turn into a merman.

See, the Favorite Daughter decided to take a makeup class, which happened to include a special-effects segment. I was supposed to have been her model the night she put somebody in drag (not that she was going to tell me before we actually got there...), but I had a meeting that night.

Darn the luck.

However, as it turned out, she had two other nights to abuse me. The bald pate was, perhaps, not entirely successful. (And if you really want to compare, go here and here - it's not like I haven't sported that look before.)

Not a big fan of the bald cap, by the way. Your hair gets gelled back, it takes forever, and your body heat, which normally escapes out the top of your head, has no place to go. Plus the glue holding it in place is a major-league pain to get off, and you're pulling little balls of it out of your hair forever.

I got most of it out before going to work the next morning, although I found a suspicious little ball of goo behind my ear when my glasses didn't want to come off about noon. Plus, knowing that I had a full-face makeup thing coming that evening, I shaved off my beard and mustache for the first time in years.

But her final project was a fantasy thing, that didn't really need to reflect reality, so she dreamed up this fish-man and plopped me into an appropriately pirate-themed director's chair.

She had a whole little story worked out regarding the merman, and the fact that the sequins were actually camouflage as I drifted around my horde of sunken treasure. But that hardly matters here.

But there I sat, very literally for hours, as she slathered goo on my eyebrows to cover them up, a layer of primer base coat of an appropriately fish-belly white, highlighted with multiple other colors, glued sequins on my face (I'm pretty sure they were mostly just because she wanted, at the end of the evening, to glue sequins on my face), and gave my skin a scale texture.

Personally, I think the scales are the best part. And the secret? Fishnet stockings: they're pulled over your head, and the makeup is applied through the stocking, giving her a simple way to end up with the texture she wanted.

It's been years since I last had fishnets over my head, and thank god this pair was clean - you know, they don't do as much to hide you from security cameras as you'd think... (Don't judge. It's rude.)

The gills worked pretty well, too. Entirely non-functional, of course (I'm not falling for that again), but they had an interesting texture - latex, with a light top layer that wrinkled them slightly.

Thought I'd say hi to Bradlee Dean

Since you can only send text in Dean's contact form, he isn't getting all the supporting links. Fortunately, I've got a hotmail account that I don't use for anything else. Because not only am I unlikely to get an answer to this, I suspect I'm about to be buried in religiospam.
Pastor Dean,

You know, it's a funny thing. I read your explanation of the controversy surrounding your prayer on the Minnesota House floor, and I'm a little confused.

I'll be honest. I never heard of you before. Maybe that's because I'm not from Minnesota. So there's that. But you're a man of God and everything, right?

You start the explanation by saying "Today I gave a prayer at the opening of the MN House session. Little did I know that I was going to be giving the prayer on the same day that they were going to have a vote on the marriage amendment." But apparently you had to push through the protestors to get into the building, and they were yelling and everything, and they were even there for two weeks already, protesting an issue that seems to be important to you.

So that doesn't sound like a very good explanation, but maybe you were just trying to say that you didn't know about that vote happening that day. I guess I can accept that. I want to be fair and give you the benefit of the doubt.

But then, your explanation of why you got struck from the record and Zellers denounced you and restarted the session with a different pastor giving a prayer and everything, was "Apparently someone was angry about my prayer because I invoked the name of Jesus." But that's not what anybody said at all.

I mean, if I understand the problem, the big thing was that you went up there and pretty much said that President Obama wasn't a Christian. You know, at the end of the prayer, when you were all like:
"I know this is a non-denominational prayer in this Chamber and it's not about the Baptists... or any other denomination, but rather the head of the denomination and His name is Jesus. As every President up until 2008 has acknowledged."
I think that was probably what the problem was. You seem kind of confused about that, so I hope this helps.

I mean, when Zellers, who asked you to come, denounced you, you said that "If Speaker Zellers does not stand for the Constitution, our veterans, the Founding Forefathers, and the Christian God to whom he swears by an oath to uphold these very things, then I would say Mr. Zellers is not fit to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Minnesota."

But that isn't what he said. You even wrote it out earlier, where Zellers said "He does not represent my values or the values of this state." He didn't say anything about the Constitution, or the Founding Fathers or God. You did.

But while I was reading that, I saw where you said that after you gave the prayer, "Before I knew it, instead of the media reporting on it as me standing up for our future generations, all of the sudden I became an anti-gay divisive pastor."

I don't think that was it, really. I mean, I watched the video, and then I read the transcript, and you didn't say anything about being gay. And since that couldn't have been why they said that, I had to go to the google.

And I don't think that you "all of the sudden became the anti-gay divisive pastor." What I think happened was that people remembered when you said that gays should be arrested and jailed, or when you said that Muslims were more moral than American Christians because the Muslims say that gays ought to be killed. (I'm sorry, but that doesn't sound very moral to me, saying that somebody ought to be killed.)

And in that same show, where you said about gays "On average, they molest 117 people before they're found out." (Where'd you get that number, anyway?)

Or when your volunteers ask for donations to stop teen suicide and get them off drugs, but all your programs are anti-gay and anti-abortion: nobody seems to mention that part.

Or when you and that Bryan Fischer guy said that gays are like Nazis. Or when you said that a Congressman, who's sworn to uphold the Constitution, is trying to bring it down and put in sharia law, and he's doing this by protecting gays from hate crimes.

See, when you say things like that, maybe you should check out what the media says about you each of those times. Because I'm thinking that maybe it wasn't "all of a sudden." I'm thinking that you've been called anti-gay and divisive way before now. And probably a lot of worse names.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Funny thing. Remember that tax-exempt fundamentalist Noah's Ark Park? Well, to be honest, I try not to, also. But meanwhile, it seems that they might be breaking with the official stand of their mentors at Answers in Genesis, and leaving out the dinosaurs entirely.

The late great Bill Hicks reminds us of those forgotten verses that never made it into the Bible...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stop listening to him! Pay attention to me!

OK, let's see if I can use one of these "internet memes" that all the cool kids are into.

Shorter Pam ("I probably am a vampire") Geller (Big Government)
AIPAC Applause-O-Meter

I don't care if you did hear cheering for Obama in the videos from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting. That wasn't cheering, it was just polite applause. And you know those crazy Jews - they'll applaud anything. Who are you going to believe? Me, or your lying ears?

Monday, May 23, 2011


Well, it's a new week. Apparently the world ended on Saturday not with a bang, but with a whimper. If you're reading this, you're apparently a hopeless sinner, doomed to five months or so of torment before being sent to the fiery pits of hell, or perhaps (just maybe) Harold Camping was wrong.

Christianity tends to get a pass in our society. The most outrageous ideas popping out of the mouths of the sincerely religious are allowed to stand unchallenged (although other religions don't get the same respect).

But not this time, really. Most of us heard about Camping and his idiotic ideas, and most of us thought he was an idiot. But there were some poor gullible bastards who were taken in. Many of them were taken in completely.

A man in Nairobi killed himself because of Camping's prediction. A man in California tried to euthanize his pets. People have spent their life savings, families were torn apart.

And a woman in Antelope Valley tried to kill herself and her two daughters, by slitting their throats and wrists.

Fortunately, "murder/suicide" now joins "spotting fraud" as just another thing she sucked at.

Some people suggested that Camping had emailed a suicide note to the Family Radio employees and killed himself. Sadly, that didn't prove to be the case. He showed up the next day, confused that he'd proven to be a lying sack of fuck. As I write this, the Family Radio website hasn't changed their "Judgement Day - May 21, 2011" screen:

But I clicked on that microphone in the upper right, and that vicious, unwavering bastard is holding a press conference claiming that God has now judged the world, and it will still end on October 21st.

This evil fucknozzle has earned over a hundred million dollars with this scam, and he is still trying to keep it going.

The saddest part to all this is, Camping's followers will most likely just become more devout because of this. What needs to happen is that his victims need to sue him for his immoral con game. But it won't happen.

Because the one thing that lasts forever is stupidity.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Water sports and frozen treats

So, what we have here is a semi-major blogger, Debbie Schlussel, leaping to a blatantly ignorant conclusion... No, wait, I'm sorry. Please replace the end of that sentence with "openly lying."

And then put a period after it. That should pretty much cover everything.

See, Debbie's not as famous as, say, Pammycakes over at Atlas Snores, but she's just as Islamophobic. Debbie, after all, is the one who thought it was great that reporter Lara Logan was beaten and sexually assaulted in Cairo during the riots (it "warmed (her) heart" that people could see what savages these heathen be), or who calls for full-on genocide against all Muslims everywhere ("Rot In Hell, Osama Bin Laden. One down, 1.8 billion to go... many of ‘em inside U.S. borders") despite proudly proclaiming herself "granddaughter of immigrant Holocaust survivors" (Cognitive dissonance is her stock in trade, after all).

But she's willing to go to the mat for her fantasy causes. Case in point:
Philly Muslim Ice Cream Truck Driver Had Urine Popsicles to Sell

Was Muslim ice cream truck driver Yasser Hassan planning to serve “urine popsicles” to non-Muslim Philadelphia area kids? It’s not clear, but Hussein was drunk driving his ice cream truck in the area and police found at least one bottle of frozen urine in the refrigerator that was used to store ice cream sold to children. They also determined that the condition of the entire truck and the ice cream was unsanitary. But, no worries, as the Koran and the Hadiths would say it’s okay to sell this to infidel kids. Oh, and like all the good Muslims who preach to us not to do this and not to do that, he had quite a bit of alcohol in his system and in his truck, despite the fact that this is haram (forbidden) in Islam.
At the moment, there are 54 responses, ranging from "Damn those Islamic types!" to "OMG!! we should Sind all theese terrerist ragheads back to irak where They cum from!!1!"

There could be 55 responses, but there aren't. See, I've done long-haul driving, most often in nuclear convoys. Here's the one response that Debbie decided didn't make the cut editorially.
OK, y’all can feel free to be stupid about this if you want, but people who spend all day in their truck often pee in bottles. And I’m thinking that with an ice-cream van, that’s even more true: it’s harder to lock up. (From experience: if he was smart he was using a gatorade bottle – wider mouth.)

The problem is especially bad with long-distance truckers. The problem is so widespread that some lawmakers have had to take action.

You can google “urine bomb” or “pee bomb” on your own, if you try.
It's not pretty, but it's the truth. But they don't care about "facts" over there in Spittle-Flecked City.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

End Times party tips

OK, so here it is; the end of the world is upon us. Time to get together with good friends, and countdown to 6:00 p.m., raise a toast, and cheer that you won't have to put up with the goddamned (so to speak) Fundies any more.

I know, you should have planned your party before now. But as one of us ignorant heathen, planning ahead isn't your strong suit, right? Or on the other hand, if you're just looking for some last-minute party ideas, here you go.

Well, obviously you need music, right? If you're feeling particularly ironic, you could play christian rock. But people might just start leaving, so... maybe not.

I would have to recommend:

Rapture (Blondie)
Highway to Hell (AC/DC)
Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
On the Dark Side (John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band)
Personal Jesus (I personally prefer Johnny Cash's cover to the Depeche Mode original, but that's up to you)
Spirit in the Sky (Norman Greenbaum)
Cheeseburger in Paradise (Jimmy Buffett)
Waiting For The End Of The World (Elvis Costello - not his best song, actually, but still...)
Jesus Just Left Chicago (ZZ Top)

And, of course:

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (R.E.M.)

What do you drink to wash down Devil's Food Cake and Pizza Diavolo?

You can go as simple as you want: a shot of demon Rum in Acai/Pomegranate juice (that seems like an appropriately New-Age drink).

Magic Rock Brewing offers a "Rapture Red Hop Ale" - no guarantees it's available in your area.

But you can go as crazy as you want, really. And if you particularly want to spend the end of the world mixing drinks, how about this?

The Rapture
2 oz Bacardi® gold rum
2 oz Absolut® vodka
2 oz Hennessy® cognac
2 oz Jack Daniel's® Tennessee whiskey
2 oz Red Bull® energy drink
1 oz tropical fruit juice
1 oz cranberry juice
1 oz orange juice
1 splash grapefruit juice

Place all ingredients in a mixer, stir and serve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


OK, let's be clear here. We want there to be no misunderstanding.

Are we clear on that? He misspoke. It wasn't what he meant to say. He was frazzled. That wasn't a planned speech; he just went off the cuff, and dropped the ball. He went out there, and just flubbed it. It was a mistake, now let it go.

Of course, context is important, right? So let's take a look at these impromptu, unrehearsed remarks that he regrets having said now.

("But," I hear you wailing, "that'll take forever! That fucker starts talking and just won't stop! I don't have that kind of time! Plus, his voice gives me the shingles!" Ah, but I wouldn't do that to you: this is just the money shot. Three minutes and two seconds (plus a 15 second ad, because MSNBC has to pay the bills).

See that? Off his game. No way he could have rehearsed that, right? All that stammering and stuttering. He was winging it. Never would have said something like that. He was taken completely off-guard. Anybody who could say that was a prepared argument is just blind.

So let's repeat this for you. It's very important that you understand.

You got that? This has nothing to do with Newtie spending 15 hours on the phone with every Republican in Congress. The Koch brothers didn't say a word to him. It was a complete misunderstanding. He was tired, and had to squint to see through the glare off David Gregory's platinum helmet of hair. He opened his mouth, and some truth just fell out. That's so unlike him! It landed in a big pile of bullshit, but there it was, naked. For everybody to see. It was embarrassing, but that's our Newt. Big enough to look the camera in the eye and lie his ass off about it.

And by the way, don't make fun of Callista.

She can't help it. It's fucked up you're even talking about it.

Bitch ain't crazy.

It's congenital.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Paranoid psychosis is the new normal.

Gather ‘round, children. Let me tell ‘ya how things was when I was your age.

Now, when I was young, fringe conspiracy theories were still kept... well, in the fringes. My father was a West Point grad, and as such, sentenced to life as an Army officer; we weren’t exactly flaming radicals and pot-smoking hippies around my house. You had your John Birch Society, but nobody "respectable" belonged to it since the Fifties. On the other side of the coin, there were "those radicals" (technically, an attitude left over from the Sixties, but there you are); they weren’t exactly in the majority in society, and were pretty universally looked down on, too. Generally, expressing a sentiment in public that didn’t fit into the "mainstream" was likely to either get you into a lively debate, or cause people to edge away from you (depending on who was around).

I’d run into fringe ideas every so often, but perhaps less than some people.
I still remember the woman in the kaftan nursing her baby and giving me a glowering side-eye as I, naïve military-brat that I was, cheerfully pored over independent-press books explaining how vaccinating children was another example of the white man keeping the black man down, by poisoning his naturally healthier immune system. That "we must return to the land of our ancestors." That white men were solely responsible for black people being poor. (OK, so in later years I'd learn that this last, while perhaps not even mostly true, did have a certain core of reality...)

I loved some of the fringier ideas: ghosts, UFO's, psychic powers. But for the most part, I always wondered why people would fall for some of the most unmistakably ridiculous ideas.

So, flash forward around three decades or so. And we have people openly believing the most paranoid, ridiculous crap that has ever left a skidmark on a page. And the majority of the sweat-stained stupidity seems to emit from the Right side of the argument.

I mean, if you think about it, it does make a certain amount of sense. First, we had the Clinton Years, where the Right was trying to paint him as a murderer, thief, rapist and philanderer (and as it turns out, one of those was true).

And if you follow that with the Bush Years, where the party in power is trying to build that power up through the force of fear,
aided and abetted by an entire television network devoted to spreading their strange lies, you have a people softened up to believe just any ridiculous pile of idiocy that people tried to feed them.

Oh, I'm sorry. America didn't believe ignorant crap under Bush? You mean, like the multi-billion dollar Fortress of Evil bin Laden had dug into the Pakistani mountains? Or that Iraq could attack the US with unmanned drones any minute now!

But the Huntsmen of Greed failed to keep a tight enough rein on the Horses of Insanity, and, as these things so often do, Entropy entered into the picture and everything fell into chaos.

Actually, to an extend, the Huntsmen of Greed can be blamed for the collapse of their own fiendish plans; it was Rupert Murdoch, after all, who gave Glenn Beck a national stage, and thereby mainstreamed some of the most hair-flamingly batshit conspiracy theories - perhaps we can point to him, but perhaps Murdoch was merely giving in to forces already beyond his control.

Whatever the reason, drooling lunacy has taken over much of the Right Wing, and the politicians of the Gibbering Old Paranoid party, not willing to give up the tattered remnants of whatever power they might have had, are willingly being swept along in the tidal stream of tempestuous Teabaggers: the only strategy left for these figureheads at the bow of the boat of Bedlam at this point, is to obsess over trivialities, to keep the wild-eyed crowd that's carrying them from focusing on real issues.

The rabid weasels who imagined "death panels" and "Obama reeducation camps," and were able to convince the masses that these things exist, are finding themselves overwhelmed by the forces that they, themselves, unleashed, not imagining that throwing open the Gates of Madness might allow more through the door than they had predicted.

We have entire websites devoted to the idea that America has been taken over by a radical, terrorist-loving, Marxist socialist fascist tyrannical Satanic Islamic atheist Kenyan whose sole aim in life is the utter destruction of all that we hold dear.

We'll ignore the biggies: Townhall, Pajamas Media (that plucky, faltering startup of lunacy), Glenn Beck's the Blaze, and look even farther down the ramp, where the gibbering is loudest.

The most obvious of these black holes of idiocy is World Net Daily, where, just dipping into the rancid pools of whatever passes for journalism there, we can discover a banner headline proclaiming:
Birth certificate doesn't meet Hawaii standards
Image White House released 'may not be a certified copy'
(WorldNetDaily Exclusive)
Yes, Joseph Farah, the publisher and Birther-In-Chief at WND, can't let go of the idea that Barack Obama is the result of a plot forty years in the making, because there's no way that a black man could get elected as President of the United States, right?

In fact, scrolling down the page, we find no less than ten other birther-related stories (and three ads) before we come to the "international coverage" - if, by "international," you mean the-Middle-East-but-mostly-Israel (because we can't have the Rapture if Jerusalem falls, after all...). The overriding focus of everything WND-related is that Obama has taken over the country, and is struggling to put Sharia Law in place.

Other websites can't manage this kind of message discipline, of course. Renew America, for example, has a shotgun blast pattern, with stories on "Obama is a hypocrite!"; "raising the debt ceiling will destroy America!" (a Newsmax crossover!); a story stolen from Fox News telling us that George Soros, a liberal, has "ties" to news organizations (with nary a mention of Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers, of course); Michelle Malkin and her latest "one-lunatic-equals-Islamic-conspiracy" rant; and a string of other "news" items.

The "news," though, is not the entertaining part of RenooAmurika: that would be the columnists (splayed out along the left-hand border, ironically). There we find such notables as:
Jeannie DeAngelis: a housewife and grandmother who conflates things like the USDA studying children's eating habits and illegal immigration; she crossposts at the American "Thinker" and her own blog Jeannie-ology (with the hilariously unself-aware banner "WHERE WHAT STARTED AS A CATHARTIC EXERCISE TURNED INTO AN OBSESSION!" All caps, of course, but with only one exclamation point. This is self-control, for Jeannie.)

Randy Engel: claims to be "one of the nation's top investigative reporters," but that's only if you add the codicil " the field of Abortion and Stem Cell Research are Eugenics!"

Bryan Fischer: American Family Association member who I might have mentioned once or twice, who only occasionally branches out from "all gay, all the time."

Judie Brown: president and co-founder of the American Life League, who chronicles the decay of the Catholic Church. Oh, and abortion.
Among so many, many others.

From there, we can move on to the already mentioned American "Thinker," which doesn't even bother with the false patina of respectability of the "news" features that RescrewAmerica pastes to the wall. They go straight to the crazy, with columns and inane ramblings by anybody who walks by, as long as they can spew spittle when repeating the phrase "Obama is destroying America!" Some of their winners include:
Robin of Berkeley: a self-proclaimed former ("recovering") liberal, she also claims to be a psychologist, despite the fact that she is willing to diagnose full-blown clinical psychosis based on second-hand reports (or two-line responses from people who argue with her). Irony has no place in Robin's world.

Chuck Rogér: Despite the suspiciously French last name (probably born named "Charles" - pronounced "Shar"), he's more of a generalist, finding the death of Society-As-We-Know-It ("we" being white and male, of course) in Sex Ed courses that actually mention condoms. (Because we know how successful Abstinence Only courses are. Right, Bristol?)

Bruce Whitsitt: One of many authors who've only puked out three or less articles, explains how all leftists hate cops and police, and the police should never be chastised for killing the wrong person. Because they don't. And even when they do, it's not their fault.

Lloyd Marcus: Apparently only has one theme: "I'm black, and I hate Obama!"
Of course, for the deepest, blackest pit of ugliness, there's no place better than Free Republic. Ironically, although "freeper" is the commonly used slang term for this particularly virulent species of paranoid racist, "" is actually the website for the Detroit Free Press. Don't make that mistake!

And there are thousands of little, lesser websites - sweaty loners sitting in their basements, blogging away amid the cases of canned food and ammunition. They're all out there, willing to believe any ridiculous fantasy that comes down the pike. As long as it proves that they're right, and the end of the world is coming and it's the liberals' fault!

They rant, they rave, and they grind their teeth down to nubs, equating Barack Obama with every "villain" in history. Was he Hitler? Marx? Stalin? Mao? Satan? Or even Che Guevara? What about Genghis Khan?

(Quick hint - with looking for Che Guevara links, use the additional tag "-flag" - some low-level Cuban staffer working for the Obama camp put a Cuban flag with the image of Guevara on a wall during the election - probably a bad idea.)

It doesn't matter what you imagine as the most catastrophic event in the history of the universe - there will be someone out there who will find a way to blame it on Barack Obama.

Are You Smarter Than a 10th Grader?

Brilliant At Breakfast points us to a letter purportedly written (unverified at this point) by Amy Myers, a high school sophomore, to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-6).

Dear Representative Bachmann,

My name is Amy Myers. I am a Cherry Hill, New Jersey sophomore attending Cherry Hill High School East. As a typical high school student, I have found quite a few of your statements regarding The Constitution of the United States, the quality of public school education and general U.S. civics matters to be factually incorrect, inaccurately applied or grossly distorted. The frequency and scope of these comments prompted me to write this letter.

Though I am not in your home district, or even your home state, you are a United States Representative of some prominence who is subject to national media coverage. News outlets and websites across this country profile your causes and viewpoints on a regular basis. As one of a handful of women in Congress, you hold a distinct privilege and responsibility to better represent your gender nationally. The statements you make help to serve an injustice to not only the position of Congresswoman, but women everywhere. Though politically expedient, incorrect comments cast a shadow on your person and by unfortunate proxy, both your supporters and detractors alike often generalize this shadow to women as a whole.

Rep. Bachmann, the frequent inability you have shown to accurately and factually present even the most basic information about the United States led me to submit the follow challenge, pitting my public education against your advanced legal education:

I, Amy Myers, do hereby challenge Representative Michele Bachmann to a Public Forum Debate and/or Fact Test on The Constitution of the United States, United States History and United States Civics.

Hopefully, we will be able to meet for such an event, as it would prove to be enlightening.

Sincerely yours,
Amy Myers
(Lacking a picture of Ms Myers, her part will be played this evening by this attractive kitten.)


Update: OK, so I can't help myself. Apparently, Ms Bachmann only takes emails from people in her district, so I became Michael Smith of St Cloud for long enough to send her the following.
Representative Bachmann,
I understand that you're a busy woman. But there are some things you can't let pass. A Constitutional scholar such as yourself cannot allow this challenge from some punk New Jersey teenager to go unpunished. She should be shown for the snot-nosed little tramp she is. You should crush her. You are a scholar, and she is just a democrat kid with no idea of the force she is facing. You should take her up on this, and once and for all end all these annoying, back-biting rumors that you're nothing but an ignorant talking head in a nice suit.
Thank you.
It's not going to do any good. She's a hollow shell of a woman, a talking head with no depth, no soul, and no brains. But I had to try.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Here you go!

In honor of everyone who lost posts and responses in the last two days, Blogger would like to offer you this fine petit pain de merde.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Hey, if they can recycle, so can I!

Chris Rodda has pointed out that Randy Forbes (R-VA), a particularly undistinguished congresscritter of the Far Right variety, has reintroduced his "Spiritual Heritage Week" resolution once again, as he's done for every congress for the last three years. In the 110th Congress, it was HR 888; in the 111th, it was HR 397; and now it's back, essentially unchanged, as HR 253.

Well, since Forbes apparently can't conjure up an original idea to save his life, I don't see why I should bother to, either; I had a few things to say about this same bill back in 2008 when he coughed it up the first time, and reading through the "new" version, they're still valid.

This time, they're doing through a non-binding Congressional document, HR 888, which starts with the following paragraph:
Affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation's founding and subsequent history and expressing support for designation of the first week in May as 'American Religious History Week' for the appreciation of and education on America's history of religious faith.
Well, that's really sweet. The rest of the bill is full of paragraphs that twist history to their own ends. I've talked about some of this nonsense before now, and don't feel like repeating myself too often. At the moment, anyway. These guys take a brief look at the document and point out a few problems with it, if you're interested.

What it boils down to, though, is that this document is full of lies and misrepresentations, and we probably don't want this stuff read into the Congressional Record, where somebody might mistake it for fact.

There are seventy-six clauses in the preamble. You get stuff like this:
Whereas the delegates to the Constitutional Convention concluded their work by in effect placing a religious punctuation mark at the end of the Constitution in the Attestation Clause, noting not only that they had completed the work with 'the unanimous consent of the States present' but they had done so 'in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven,'
If you want to look at it historically, "Year of Our Lord" was essentially the formal, legal way to refer to the Gregorian calendar. It wasn't Congress "placing a religious punctuation mark," it was them dating the freaking thing. If you want to pull it out of shape and claim that it was done to build a religious foundation for the work, you're deluding yourself. However, that isn't as much of a misrepresentation as the following:
Whereas beginning in 1904 and continuing for the next half-century, the Federal government printed and distributed The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth for the use of Members of Congress because of the important teachings it contained;
Well, that was relatively true. What they aren't saying is that this document was written by (or at least pieced together by) Thomas Jefferson, and was also known as the Jefferson Bible. Jefferson wasn't a Christian but a "deist" (he believed in a god, but didn't necessarily see Him as the Judeo-Christian dieity – Jefferson was a product of a movement called the "Enlightenment"), and toward the end of his life, Jefferson took the Gospels, chopped them apart, put them back together in roughly chronological order, and then removed anything that referred to Jesus as the Son of God, or was in any way supernatural. By doing that, he told a story of an ordinary guy who was more of a philosopher than a religious figure. It's a very famous document. You should look it up sometime.

The writers of this bill are using the "Chariots of the Gods" strategy – if you pack enough lies into every inch of text, it takes more time to refute the document than it does to write it in the first place.

Here's my thought. We don't have to disprove this pseudo-history – if these congresscritters want this nonsense turned into law, they need to justify every one of their points. Bring in actual historians (and not the teaching staff from Liberty University, either) and prove every historical "fact" that they're claiming.

But that isn't enough, I think. See, it may surprise you, but I like the basic idea behind this document. I just don't think it goes far enough in "affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation." After we've chopped out the lies that they're trying to shoehorn in under the guise of "history," let's add a few.
Whereas less than half of the 102 passengers of the Mayflower were "Pilgrims" seeking religious freedom,

Whereas the Laws and Liberties of Massachusetts were written in 1648, wherein it stated that Anabaptists were "Incendiaries of Common-wealths & the Infectors of persons," and could be banished. Likewise, Quakers threatened to "undermine & ruine" the colonies, and could not only be banished, but killed if they returned. They also included a death sentence for any child who "will not obey the voice of his Father or the Voice of his Mother,"

Whereas in 1692, nineteen men and women were convicted of witchcraft and hanged, one man (over eighty years old) was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a witch trial, and dozens languished in jail for months without trial,

Whereas a Virginia law from 1699 tried to eliminate "horrid and Atheisticall principles greatly tending to the dishonour of Almighty God, and...destructive to the peace and wellfaire of this...collony," by making it a crime to deny "the being of God or the holy Trinity...assert or maintaine there are more Gods then one...deny the truth of Christianity..." and more,

Whereas in 1797, the US Senate under John Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli, declaring that "the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,"

Whereas in 1851, Princeton's Charles Hodge defended the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 using Christian philosophy and Biblical scholarship, and in 1852, Charles Finney defended it yet again, in an article for the Oberlin Evangelist,

Whereas 1866 brought us the first incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist group with a strong Christian identity and a habit of murdering people based strictly on their skin color.

Whereas in 1935, America took up arms to fight the Nazi Party, who probably took some of their philosophy from the 1543 tract by Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies,

Whereas, according to the 2004 John Jay Report, commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, 4,392 Catholic priests and deacons in the United States have been accused of sexual abuse of children,

Whereas in the 1990s, the Army of God, a Christian anti-abortion terrorist group was formed,

Whereas the theory in early America was that black skin was the "mark of Cain," slavery was therefore justified, the Southern Baptist church held that there were separate heavens for blacks and whites, and the Mormon church refused to allow blacks to join until 1978,

Whereas, since the First Amendment to the Constitution states explicitly "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," it seems silly to be considering any kind of legislation establishing anything called 'American Religious History Week,'
See? And those are just a few of the aspects of America's rich spiritual history that they seem to be ignoring. I ignored all kinds of current nonsense - Terri Schiavo, the Kansas school board, and numerous other interesting topics. Feel free to add your own.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Come to New Mexico, Eric Bolling

So, the "special" students at Fox Business think torture is funny? Monica Crowley and Eric Bolling seem to think that it's just fine.

So here's a challenge for you, Bolling. Come on down to Albuquerque. You'll sign a release, and I'll waterboard you. And before I'm done, you will admit that you like to be ass-raped by Palestinians wearing tutus. On camera.

I guarantee it, you unamerican goat-fucker.

If you're a puss, I'll even have a doctor from the ER standing by. Come on down, son; I'll show you a real good time.

In fact, there are a lot of people out there claiming that torturing prisoners is just fine: hell, we got bin Laden because of our "enhanced interrogation techniques"! All of these people have suspiciously tiny penises (except for Ann Coulter - that reamed-out drag queen is hung like a horse).

Let's be clear here. It didn't happen. Over at Firedoglake, blogger emptywheel lays out the timeline. And the Rude Pundit (who, in the same post, explains other reasons it didn't happen that way) puts it best.
No scenario exists here that would justify the calculated mistreatment of people who were mistaken for terrorists.

What exists is the pathetic willingness of so, so many in this nation to cast aside our morality and laws for the expedience (no matter how long it took) of vengeance. Frankly, if the only way to get to bin Laden was waterboarding, the Rude Pundit would have rather bin Laden had stayed free. Because the Rude Pundit is more goddamned patriotic than any of these fuckers who put their animal instincts over the truly ethical principles that are supposed to guide us.

And you know who would back him up? Benjamin Franklin, man. In a mucho-quoted sentence, Franklin said, "That it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer, is a Maxim that has been long and generally approved; never, that I know of, controverted." Except, of course, the false patriots of the right.
Aside from being morally repugnant to everyone but the completely unsalvageable pervert and sociopath, torture doesn't work. The person being tortured will tell you whatever he thinks you want to hear, true or false, just to get it to stop. You don't get "actionable intelligence" from torture: you get whatever the person being tortured thinks you want to hear.

John McCain broke under torture, and taped a confession calling himself an "air pirate" and "black criminal."

And in 1998, Qin Yanhong, a Chinese villager, confessed to the rape and murder of a woman he'd never met. Because he was tortured.

If you happen to be a Christian, remember that Christ was supposed to have been tortured before being crucified. How do you think He would feel about it? I mean, I thought all the fundamentalists watched Passion of the Christ because it brought them closer to Jesus. Not to masturbate.

Monday, May 02, 2011

America - Fuck Yeah!

You know, there are people out there who don't understand what it means to be an American!

I mean, you know what we learned today? That secret prisons where people got waterboarded led us to Osama!!!

Yeah! Waterboarding worked! How about that, libs? We got actionable intelligence by torturing somebody! Awesome, right?

I mean, yeah, there's this guy, Mohammed Basardah. He talked. He spilled all kinds of names and locations and everything else. They couldn't shut him up, he talked so much. They rounded up all kinds of people based on what he said. He gave them so much intel, they let him go out of gratitude for the help.

But, I mean, that's where it gets funny, right? Because Basrdah turns out to be just a small-time pot dealer in Mecca. He made up all this stuff, and threw in some names of people he didn't like, or that he'd heard of, or just fake names. So we round up all these people, and they have no idea what's going on, right? But we have "actionable intelligence" saying that they DO know, right?

So, they act like they don't know anything, and do we have a choice? Hell, no! We have to waterboard them to get the truth out! I mean, yeah, they don't know what the "truth" is, because it's just stuff Basardah made up, right?

But that's what's so funny!

Same thing with these people that the Pakistani tribes sold to us - they were just passing through, but we were offering thousands of dollars in bounties! What could the tribesmen do? How could they resist that kind of money? So they sold us tourists - can you blame them?

Now, we have these people in custody, and they claim they're innocent, right? As if! So we have to waterboard them, or chain them up, or do the sleep deprivation thing, until they answer us, right? I mean, do we have a choice?

You know, looking back, maybe there are some hippies who'll try to claim that when we torture innocent people, we might be making another generation of people who will stop at nothing to kill us. But what do they know, right?

Because we're Americans, motherfucker! We do what's right! Even if it seems like it's wrong! I mean, this is what we have got to do, right?



Sunday, May 01, 2011


So, ten years and several billion dollars later, we finally took the fucker down?

Let me just point out that in the coming week, right-wing pundits will try to claim that Obama should not receive any credit for this. Of course, in the meantime, all the evidence shows that Bush had the chance to get him and let him go. (After all, the unkillable boogeyman is a better way to get unlimited funds than a guy you pick up in the first few months of a manhunt.)

Update: from Pam at Pam's House Blend: